First attack in 18 months was in response to Yobe State farmers’ refusal to pay taxes to militants, locals and police have claimed
Suspected Boko Haram militants opened fire on residents and set off explosive devices earlier this week in Nigeria’s northeastern Yobe state, killing at least 40 people, police in the West African country said on Wednesday.
The gunmen killed 20 on Monday evening and another 20 on Tuesday at Gurokayeya village in the state’s Gaidam area, police spokesperson Abdulkarim Dungus said, in what appears to have been an act of vengeance.
Dungus clarified that 17 villagers had died on the spot after being shot at by the gunmen and that the others were killed in a landmine explosion while returning from the funerals of the earlier attack victims.
“The other [group of] about 20 were among those who drove from Gaidam and neighboring villages to the affected village for the burial of the first 20 on Tuesday. When they were driving back home their vehicle drove over an explosive planted by the insurgents,” he said.
“Ten died on the spot and about ten died at the Gaidam Primary Health Care Centre, where they were rushed-to after the accident,” he added.
According to residents who spoke to Reuters, Yobe had been at peace for over a year until this week’s attacks. The last bomb blast in the state was reported in April last year.
The attack was carried out in response to villagers’ refusal to pay the jihadists’ tax on farm harvests and cattle, Nigeria’s The Punch newspaper reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The police spokesman also told the outlet that it was a revenge assault.
“You know, this is harvest time, and the insurgents are used to going around the farming communities, collecting Jizya [farm produce tax],” he explained, describing Yobe as a Boko Haram stronghold.
Yobe is the immediate neighbor of Borno State, known as the epicenter of jihadist violence in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation.
More than 40,000 people have been killed and two million others displaced in Nigeria’s conflict between jihadists and the State, which has lasted for over a decade and has been led on the jihadist side by Boko Haram and other armed groups, UN figures have shown.
The Boko Haram movement, known for its abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014, has carried out major attacks since 2009.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who’d promised at his inauguration in May to improve the country’s deteriorating security situation, had just approved a $2.8 billion supplementary budget to fund “urgent issues,” including defense and security.
November 02, 2023 at 03:38PM